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The blessing of adoption made my husband and I a daddy and a mommy. Nothing in our life has ever brought us as much happiness or more grateful hearts than the gift and vocation of being parents. From the time we first spoke of starting a family, we always dreamt of several children. So our journey to building a big family, we pray, is still not complete. We are presently hoping to be blessed with another child.
Update! We adopted again – twins!!! Definitely use this post to help you get started, but then, check out this post: Pursuing an Adoption Without An Agency: What We Did Right
The first time we adopted, we went through an agency. This time around, we are pursuing a private adoption. We have considered being foster parents with the hope of eventually adopting, but at the present time we do not feel that is our calling. Adopting through foster care is an absolute awesome way to build a family, and I strongly recommend looking into it. Like adoption, laws vary by state. But for the most part, it is very affordable and such a blessing. Maybe the next time around we will go that route. This time we are pursuing a private adoption mainly because I am a stay at home mom. I resigned from my teaching career so that I could be home with our son. However, resigning from my career meant giving up over $50,000 a year. Sadly, that’s about how much it costs to adopt a baby with the help of an agency. The cost of adoption is astronomical. We know there are many legitimate reasons why it cost so much. However, a private adoption costs about $30,000 less than an agency adoption (at least in Pennsylvania). Before you read further, I have to warn you, some states will not legally allow you to adopt without an agency. Each state has different adoption laws, which can make adopting domestically extra challenging. Here is a website that will help you see your state’s laws regarding adoption:
To learn more about adoption, check out free information sessions at local agencies (you don’t have to sign up). For a free printable of important questions to ask an adoption agency, click here: Questions to ask an Adoption Agency #10 is the Adoption Agency Resource.
If you are fortunate enough to pursue adoption without the help of an agency, here are some tips to help you
- First and foremost – pray. I cannot possibly write this list in clear conscience without making this the first on the “to do” list. If you are not religious, consider the “law of attraction”. As The Secret states, “Ask, believe, receive”. If you are a Christian, you know the Lord revealed “the secret” in the Bible! Philippians 4:6 states “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” The Lord’s love is full of abundance (remember the loaves and fishes?)! If your heart desires a house full of children, ask for that gift! Pray the Rosary, pray a novena (it’s not a secret that I love praying a novena to Saint Therese’), or pray any way you feel comfortable. But pray, every day. I love the quote by Padre Pio: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry”. Great advice! Also, pray for the birthmother who will eventually choose you to parent her child. Pray for the birthfather that may also choose you. Pray for the baby. Pray for all pregnant women – especially those facing an unplanned pregnancy. It’s certainly not an easy choice or journey. May God bless them with peace of heart and mind, as well as a bright future and many blessings.
- Next, you’ll need to complete a home study and line up an adoption attorney. Some adoption attorneys will help you complete the home study. I suggest calling the adoption attorney first, that way if he or she requires the home study to be done by a certain office or organization, you will know that ahead of time. My husband and I found out about our adoption attorney from a friend, and he is awesome. If you are in PA, I recommend him – even though we haven’t been matched yet! His information can be found here: http://www.adoptionadvocatesofpa.com/. Sometimes adoption attorneys hear of situations and will refer clients they have waiting. This is still a possibility in our situation (fingers crossed). We had our home study done with an organization called Child and Home Study Associates. This organization completed our home study for our first adoption (when we used an agency) and completed our home study this year as well. Here is their website: http://www.chsadoptions.org/main.php
- Once you have completed a home study and lined up an adoption attorney, I strongly urge you to apply to be a “Rescue Family” with Project Cuddle. (Find more information about how here: Project Cuddle. Once you apply, also seriously consider becoming a volunteer for them. This organization desires to be national. It has great potential – John Stamos is one of its spokespersons! Becoming a volunteer will help more people know that the organization exists – and therefore save more babies! Not all women who call Project Cuddle choose adoption, but some do and will! Doing this is a great idea for several reasons. First – it’s completely free. Secondly, PC requires that you send a two-sided bi-fold or trifold birthmother letter with photos. This will be a valuable resource for you to share with everyone you know . . . and some people that you don’t know!
- Tell everyone you know. Seriously, I have heard story after story of how someone knew somebody who was considering placing her baby with an adoptive family and they told her “so and so are hoping to adopt”! And that was it! Lucky them, right!!?? We’ve told everyone we know and haven’t had that happen – yet. But, we have heard of situations, and just this week I was able to give our paper profile to someone who knows a young woman who is pregnant and considering adoption. Having that paper profile is a “must have”. My husband and I used Microsoft Publisher to make our profile. Some people make adoption profiles for a living, so if you don’t mind paying someone to do it, you can choose that path as well. One woman who does this is Madeleine at http://www.ourjourneytoyouadoption.com/index.html. She is an adoptee and also grew her family through adoption. Madeleine believes strongly in creating honest and ethical portfolios. From her experience she sends a reassuring message to not worry to much, “someone is looking for a family just like yours”! When you create your profile you will put contact information on it. You can choose to get an 800 number, but we chose to sign up for a Google Voice phone number (which is free!). We also created a special gmail.com email account.
- Create an online presence. Build a website. My husband and I created our website for free at wix.com. If you’re curious, this is what it looks like! http://mattandamyadopt.wix.com/hoping-to-adopt Obviously not professionally done, but, it does describe our family and help potential birth mothers get to know a little bit about us. This website will be extremely helpful in another step I will explain in my next post. Creating an online presence also involves using free social media outlets. Create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an Instagram account. We started out with just a Facebook page – which really did help us make a lot of connections. However, we discovered that younger people tend to use Instagram more. Twitter . . . well, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out Twitter! Here are our social media pages/accounts: https://www.facebook.com/wanttoadopt?fref=ts
These first five steps are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are interested in pursuing a private adoption and following these steps, I strongly feel I must stop here and post the next few steps in a separate article. The above steps will take some time and will feel like work, but most of them you would have to do if you signed up with an agency as well. Please keep in mind it will all be worth it!! Also remember that there is an adoption tax credit, so keep all your documentation from your home study and attorney – that paperwork will be needed once your adoption is finalized. Forgive me if some of the facts I stated were obvious, I just don’t want to assume certain things are known.
I think the most important aspect that needs to be highlighted here is there are many free tools that will help you on your journey to adopt. In this day and age of the internet, social media, google voice, free websites . . . potential adoptive parents can communicate their desire to adopt without going into debt.
The next steps will discuss more ways to connect with a young woman or couple considering an adoption plan, ways to help the woman or couple considering adoption to really contemplate the decision and more! If you pursued a private adoption, please share your story!
Check out part 2 by clicking here: Pursuing an Adoption Without an Agency: Part 2
Updated – we adopted twins! Check out this post!!!! Pursuing an Adoption Without An Agency: What We Did Right!!!